Barely a week after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed the departure of its CEO Rahul Johri, another one of its top executives has handed in his resignation. Saba Karim, who was appointed as the General Manager (cricket operations) in December 2017, resigned hours before the Apex Council meeting began on Friday.
Karim’s exit will be a big blow for the BCCI as the former India wicketkeeper, apart from being in charge of national women’s team operations, has also been looking after domestic cricket. His resignation isn’t entirely surprising because he has been under fire in the recent past from former administrators.
Much of it has to do with the domestic structure and scheduling of matches which has been criticised by many state associations. Karim, who succeeded MV Sridhar, has overseen drastic changes to the Ranji Trophy format following the introduction of nine new teams in 2018 in the wake of the Supreme Court order.
The redrawn format which had three groups (Elite A, B, and C) had made the tournament a competitive one as five teams from Group A and B combined gained entry into knockouts. The move meant teams pushed for victories as against settling for draws because of the uncertainty around. While the format did have its cons, it received praise from several quarters.
But Karim has drawn flak for scheduling few domestic matches in regions where monsoon severely affected play. For instance, last season, one-leg of Vijay Hazare Trophy in Bengaluru had to be rescheduled after 17 of the 30 matches in three days ended without a result because of rain. The same story panned out in Vadodra too where another leg was played. This led to the tournament being extended by five days.
Interestingly his resignation comes with the BCCI yet to formalise its format for the Ranji Trophy, which will begin this time only in December because of the pandemic. Karim was supposed to give a presentation on the same last Friday, but resigned from the post, meaning KVP Rao had to step in.
The BCCI now has to advertise for the post as it is mandatory according to its constitution. For the record, the BCCI is without a CEO, Chief Financial Officer, General Manager with its secretary Jay Shah’s tenure already over and president Sourav Ganguly’s nearing his first term completion on July 26.